April 12, 2022

Becker Hall and Barrett Cooper: Why Audiences Still Crave a Live Experience


If there’s one industry that’s been uprooted since March 2020, it’s live entertainment. Just as leaders within tourism and hospitality have struggled to regain ground, runners of festivals and owners of live theaters have unleashed a wheelhouse of creativity just to stay afloat and continue serving the communities and artists around them.

In this episode, Greg and Doug talk with Becker Hall, CEO of Hogs For The Cause, and Barrett Cooper, COO of ERG Enterprises. 

Although Becker manages the unpredictability of live outdoor events and Barrett the difficult task of positioning The Orpheum as a go-to experience, they’ve both developed unique ways to offset inflation, navigate a growing labor shortage, and encourage consumers to leave their living rooms for an in-person escape. 

Greg and Doug talk with Becker and Barrett about staying afloat during a global pandemic, navigating an unpredictable return to live events, what’s necessary to survive in the live entertainment business, and what audiences crave now more than ever. 


Key Takeaways

  • [00:39] - What it’s like running a festival in 2022. 
  • [02:22] - The profit breakdown and how Becker offsets the cost of inflation. 
  • [04:06] - How entertainment venues like The Orpheum manage to stay afloat. 
  • [04:41] - How Becker and Barrett find creative ways to increase their revenue streams and offset inflation. 
  • [08:01] - The impact that 2020 federal stimulus programs had on Barrett and Becker’s businesses. 
  • [12:57] - Why there’s a massive labor supply gap. 
  • [16:53] - Navigating the rising cost of musicians. 
  • [22:07] - What it’s like operating an outdoor event in a subtropical climate. 
  • [27:54] - How Barrett positions The Orpheum as the go-to theater for up-and-coming artists. 
  • [31:39] - How Barrett has capitalized on a new attraction to entice audiences, improve customer experience, and bolster The Orpheum’s revenue streams. 


Quotes

[01:58] - “I will tell you, if you want to put on a music festival, you better be making money somewhere, because it’s usually a loss leader for people and some kind of tax break that brings in some goodwill for the community and the environment doing it.” ~ Becker Hall

[05:25] - “Just because we’re a non-profit or maybe just a private event, we still think like any privately-traded company. We’re focused on growth and you’ve got to be focused on growth year over year knowing that a lot of the expenses are going to pile up and get higher and higher.” ~ Becker Hall

[20:40] - “If we can focus on that experience, that moment of escape, that’s what people I think really demand right now; a moment separate from all the static and noise of the world.” ~ Barrett Cooper

[32:52] - “Coming out of COVID, again, it’s the whole escape from reality, lose yourself in something beyond just a good cocktail. It’s a good cocktail plus a story and that’s what we’re trying to sell.” ~ Barrett Cooper


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Disclosure

The information in this podcast is educational and general in nature and does not take into consideration the listener’s personal circumstances. Therefore, it is not intended to be a substitute for specific, individualized financial, legal, or tax advice. To determine which strategies or investments may be suitable for you, consult the appropriate qualified professional prior to making a final decision.